Oh that I could only erase her pain, he thought as he stood, sand swirling around his feet. The sun beat down upon his dark hair, and he lifted his eyes to the heavens for just a moment. He peered into the faces surrounding him, faces he knew and loved. He found his mother’s face crumpled in the despair of her loss. Those soft honey-colored eyes leaking out her sadness from the depths of her soul. She looked not at him but at the shrouded figure of her husband, his father… well, his earthly father, the man he had called ‘father’. This man who loved him just as he loved his own biological children. Now sleeping.
Memories rushed over him… even his earliest memories as a toddling baby involved the strong hands of his father soothing him, caressing him, teaching him. Those strong hands were the same that taught him all he knew of carpentry. He remembered watching his father’s sinewy arms strip the bark from trees as he molded them strategically into something with purpose. Just as he had done the the trees, this man had molded him into something more with great purpose.
His own tears clung desperately to his dark lashes. He was not saddened by his own loss, as he knew it was only temporary. But his heart broke over his mother’s mourning. This man, her husband, who had every right to toss her aside only 18 years before, was her greatest friend. He alone knew and believed the truth. The time had not yet come for others to know.
Parting his way through the crowd, he made his way to his mother’s side and wound his fingers with hers. Opening her eyes, she peered into the face her son, her own son, so different from that of her other children, and smiled wistfully. Yes, she thought, he understands. We shall meet again soon. Clutching his hand, she bowed her head to thank God.
So I imagine it must have been for Jesus when Joseph parted from this world. Joseph, who by the time Jesus is 13, is no longer mentioned in scripture. We know that Joseph went on to have children of his own as they are given mention and even names, but he would not. Only his selflessness in accepting God’s son is known to us. (But by no greater accomplishment can we be known.) Past the birth of Jesus, little is said about him or known of him. Joseph, who followed God and guided God’s son, must have been one of the greatest men to be disremembered by history.